Now before everybody gets bent out of shape at the idea that North Carolina’s court system spent over $700,000 on a public relations contract with a national firm for 15 months of work, let us say that Chief Justice Mark Martin is a nice guy and that the Administrative Office of the Courts, which made the deal, is a straight-up bunch of folks.
But as The News & Observer’s Joseph Neff reported, the PR deal was to in part promote a program educating North Carolinians about the court system, and to deal with events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the state’s modern court system. Martin characterized the situation as one in which a lot of things were happening that needed some public relations work. One of those things, as Neff reported, was a Martin speech in Charleston, S.C., that cost $36,000, what with video and technology to make it slick, don’t you know.
The administrative office has defended the deal, but has not renewed the contract. The deal apparently was done under a no-bid contract, which should not have happened.
This arrangement was a bad idea, and appears to be a case of state officials being rather naive and perhaps not talking to enough people before inking a contract. Some of those people could have been, for example, public relations people closer to home. Let’s hope that lessons have been learned.
But we’d like to hear that speech. Must be a humdinger.